Newly Arriving Families Not Main Source for Immigration Court's Growing Backlog
(19 Mar 2019) The Immigration Court backlog continues to rise. As of February 28, 2019, the number of pending cases on the court's active docket topped eight hundred and fifty-five thousand (855,807) cases. This is an increase of over three hundred thousand (313,396) pending cases over the backlog at the end of January 2017 when President Trump took office. This figure does not include the over three hundred thousand previously completed cases that EOIR placed back on the "pending" rolls that have not yet been put onto the active docket.

Recent family arrivals now represent just 4 percent of the current court's backlog. Since September 2018 when tracking of family units began, about one out of every four newly initiated filings recorded by the Immigration Court have been designated by DHS as "family unit" cases. The actual number of families involved were less than half this since each parent and each child are counted as separate "court cases" even though many are likely to be heard together and resolved as one consolidated family unit.

There has been no systematic accounting of how many cases involving families arriving at the border will involve Immigration Court proceedings in their resolution. Families arriving at the border do not automatically have the right to file for asylum in Immigration Court. Thus far, the number of families apprehended by the Border Patrol or detained at ports of entry dwarf the actual number of these cases that have made their way to Immigration Court.

For further details, see the full report at:

In addition, many of TRAC's free query tools - which track the court's overall backlog, new DHS filings, court dispositions and much more - have now been updated through February 2019. For an index to the full list of TRAC's immigration tools go to:

If you want to be sure to receive notifications whenever updated data become available, sign up at:

or follow us on Twitter @tracreports or like us on Facebook:

TRAC is self-supporting and depends on foundation grants, individual contributions and subscription fees for the funding needed to obtain, analyze and publish the data we collect on the activities of the U.S. federal government. To help support TRAC's ongoing efforts, go to:

Customized queries of TRAC's data TRAC FBI Web Site TRAC DEA Web Site TRAC Immigration Web Site TRAC IRS Web Site TRAC ATF Web Site TRAC Reports Web Site FOIA Project Web Site
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2019
TRAC What's New TRAC